3 Ways to Get More Than a Tote Bag and an Online Listing Out of Your NPR Sponsorship

Today’s the last day for Austin NPR affiliate KUT’s on-air membership drive, and once again law firms have been heavily represented in the shoutouts provided to “Business Circle” contributors. If you’re doing it because it’s a cause you believe in — and it truly is an outstanding news and entertainment resource — thank you, and God bless. But recognize that on its own it’s a pretty poor use of scarce marketing dollars — a few mentions within a laundry list of names during the pledge drive, a random mention the following week, and an online directetory listing.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There are a few simple ways to leverage your support for NPR that can generate direct, measurable marketing lift out of your generous contribution:

  • LinkedIn mining – Use the online business directory to create a list of networking prospects in your area. Your shared interest in/sponsorship of public radio is a great opening line for an invitation to join your network.
  • CLE for NPR lovers – Devise a CLE session for your fellow NPR supporters, inviting the prospects on the aforementioned LinkedIn list and existing members of your network.
  • Take the station’s development director to lunch – As I’ve written before, fundraisers at non-profit organizations are creative, resourceful and formidable marketers. Odds are good that someone in the development department would make time to sit down with you over coffee and knock around some ideas for creating some mutually beneficial networking opportunities.

Do you support your local NPR station? Any networking stories you’d like to share?

Can’t Afford Market Research? Take a Fundraiser to Lunch

Listen to any public radio fundraiser and you’re going to hear a steady drumbeat of law firm business partner names. Listen to their news programs, and you’ll frequently hear plugs for law firm underwriters. My local NPR station, KUT, currently lists 60 legal services firms in it online business supporter directory, and eight firms as corporate underwriters.

Let’s be clear. It’s not the good-natured on-air wheedling and cajoling that got these firms to pony up — it’s the result of a sophisticated development organization (nonprofit-speak for marketing) that works year-round to identify prospects, solicit introductions and cultivate relationships. Sound familiar? It’s just like law firm marketing.

So if you are active in a nonprofit organization — particularly a large one — it’s worthwhile to see whether/how much the development director is willing to share with you on the art and science of targeting and segmentation for local businesses.

Companies that help nonprofits with their fundraising and marketing can be great free resources, too.

Convio is a software as a service (SaaS) company focused on online marketing and fundraising for nonprofits. Check out their Nonprofit Sector Research library. Their just-published 2010 online nonprofit benchmark study is a trove of information on e-campaign results and trends. Also worth perusal for useful nuggets is their 2008 study “The Wired Wealthy: Using the Internet to Connect with Your Middle and Major Donors.” Given the rapid growth in social networking adoption and social media usage rates over the past two years, the data is probably out of date, but it still has some interesting insights that could inform your strategic planning.